Michigan lawmakers react to Biden's first joint address to Congress

Posted at 5:23 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 06:15:11-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are reacting to President Joe Biden's first joint address to Congress and the $1.8 trillion investment plan.

Lawmakers on the left are touting it as a necessary investment in America's future, while Republicans are worried about the hefty price tag.

“I appreciate it as an issue. My concern is that it’s not an issue you can just throw money at," Michigan State Rep. Greg Van Woerkom, a Republican from Muskegon County, said.

VanWoerkom has been focusing on childcare at a state level. At the federal level, Biden's $225 billion investment in childcare in the newly announced $1.8 trillion proposal doesn't go far enough to address the root problems in childcare access, VanWoerkom said.

“When you actually talk to childcare providers, there’s a whole list of issues that actually need to be focusing on," he said.

Rep. Andy Levin, a, Democrat, is cheering the plan's investment in free community college through a state and federal partnership.

“It really makes higher education way more accessible for millions of poor and working class and middle-class Americans," Levin said.

The nearly $2 trillion American families plan would also invest in free community college, universal preschool and paid family and medical leave.

The Biden administration said it'll be paid for over 15 years by restoring the tax rate on the top 1% to what it was before the 2017 tax cuts.

“If you look since the 1980s or so, is that the share of national income that goes to the top 1% has risen," U-M Economist Gabe Ehrlich said. "That's one of the reasons that you see politicians looking to the top 1% as a source of funding for their programs.”

The ambitious plan is coming on the heels of Biden's $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, expected to be largely paid for by raising corporate taxes to 28%, up from 21%. For perspective here, it was 35% before former President Trump's 2017 tax cut.